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Prague diverting from Havel’s legacy as advocate of freedom

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Prague, Oct 4 (CTK) – The Dalai Lama, a friend of the late Vaclav Havel, visited the Czech Republic repeatedly in the past, but his forthcoming visit might be the last now that Prague is diverting from Havel’s promotion of free Tibet, Teodor Marjanovic writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) on Tuesday.

Havel, the Czechoslovak and Czech president in 1989-2003 who died in 2011, would turn 80 on October 5.

Havel was a moral authority of world importance, which has also been indirectly proved by the effort his jealous and intellectually less competent presidential successors have taken to erase the legacy he left behind, Marjanovic writes, referring to former president Vaclav Klaus (2003-2013) and incumbent President Milos Zeman (since 2013).

Klaus and Zeman’s efforts are sometimes tragicomic and sometimes fearful. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic lacks a personality who could effectively represent the late Havel and restore his legacy, Marjanovic writes.

This will become especially evident in two weeks, when the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, will arrive in Prague to attend the Forum 2000 conference of world politicians and thinkers, an annual event initiated by Havel, Marjanovic writes.

The Dalai Lama, with his Havel-like patient struggle for tolerance and the preservation of Tibet’s cultural identity, may be viewed as a “representative” of Havel’s style and policy. However, the Czechs need a domestic personality to take up this role, Marjanovic writes.

The Dalai Lama previously visited the Czech Republic in 2013. Now he is arriving in a situation where both the incumbent president and his predecessor, and also the prime minister and a large part of the political opposition hail the rising influence of China, including the acquisition of Czech media outlets, a football club, a luxurious hotel in Prague and so on, Marjanovic writes.

This situation symbolically started with Zeman’s visit to Beijing two years ago from where he returned aboard a plane belonging to a Czech billionaire who planned to invest in China, Marjanovic writes.

Earlier this year, this trend has been cemented by a friendship deal signed by Prague and Beijing, including an article which calls China indivisible and that Beijing views as Prague’s consent to a further brutal colonisation of Tibet, Marjanovic writes.

Briefly, the Czech Republic is different from what it used to be. China’s influence in the country might further considerably rise soon, making the Dalai Lama’s forthcoming Prague visit his last, Marjanovic writes.

He reminds of Beijing’s threats with retaliatory steps in reaction to the Dalai Lama’s speech in European Parliament a few weeks ago.

Although Forum 2000 is a non-government discussion meeting, not a legislative body, China and its representatives in the Czech Republic will definitely do their utmost to prevent the Dalai Lama from meeting anyone significant in Prague, Marjanovic writes.

Books, including beautiful books of photographs, hae been issued about Havel. It seems that there is nothing about him that the Czechs would not know. However, it is the Czech people themselves, rather than Havel, who are the unknown element. Havel may have actually been an incoherent alien in the Czech nation with its repeated tendency to “seek misfortune by kowtowing” to a big power, Marjanovic concludes.

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